Rough year for the Roughnecks

To say it’s been a rough season for the Tulsa Roughnecks FC might sound a bit trite, but it’s true. There was much hope coming into the team’s sophomore season in the United Soccer League, but injuries have hampered the Roughnecks’ performance on the field.

Although the Roughnecks won their home opener on March 26, a 2-0 shutout of Rio Grande Valley, it took over a month to win another game. Tulsa won one game in a stretch of 14 matches and played to a draw in two of those matches.

The injury bug hit the Roughnecks hard, with seven players having sat out matches this season, including Jason Ramos Carpio, Iarfhlaith Davorven, Alex Mangels, Cristian Mata, Carlos Martinez, Raymond Lee and Anthony Peters.

Mangels, Tulsa’s starting goalkeeper, has led the USL in saves and save percentage this season. However, during the four games he missed with a hamstring injury, the Roughnecks gave up 16 goals.

Mangels was in goal this past Saturday as the Tulsa Roughnecks FC scored two goals in the second half to defeat Saint Louis FC, 2-0, at ONEOK Field. There were 4,776 soccer fans on hand to watch the Roughnecks pick up their fourth win of the season.

It may have been a bit of a revenge match for the Roughnecks after being embarrassed by St. Louis in a 7-1 loss on June 11. Mangels was not in goal that game.

Tulsa broke the scoreless tie in the 66th minute on a shot from 15-yards out by Gustavo Villalobos. It was his first goal of the season.

In the 83rd minute, Tulsa’s Sammy Ochoa scored on his own rebound to give the Roughnecks a 2-0 lead. Ochoa took a shot on goal from the top of the penalty area that bounced off the Saint Louis goalkeeper Mark Pais, then Ochoa headed it into the goal over the outstretched hands of Pais. It was Ochoa’s team leading ninth goal of the season.

This was the fourth meeting between these two teams this season. The two teams played to a 0-0 draw in Saint Louis on April 16, and then Saint Louis FC won at Tulsa on May 21, 5-2. Saint Louis pummeled Tulsa 7-1, at Soccer Park in Saint Louis on June 11.

The Roughnecks are now 4-11-3 with 15 points, and in last place in the Western Conference standings. Tulsa is currently 10 points out of a playoff spot.

With the loss, Saint Louis falls to 6-7-5, and holds the seventh spot in the conference with 23 points.

Tulsa’s next match is July 23 at Oklahoma City, and the next home match is Aug. 4 against Orange County Blues.

DRILLERS RETURN HOME

The Tulsa Drillers wrap up a five-game series in Arkansas this weekend then return home July 25 for a seven-game home stand. The Drillers will host the Springfield Cardinals for three games, before the Arkansas Travelers come to town for a four-game set.

Promotions will include “Bark in the Park” Wednesday night. Fans can bring their dogs to the game, but need to bring up-to-date vaccination records, and enter through either the Oil Derrick or Arvest/Brady Street Entrance. Dogs are free to get in, but only permitted to sit in the GA Lawn or Budweiser Terrace. Dogs are not permitted in the seating bowl.

On Thursday, Nolan Arenado Drillers T-shirts will be given to the first 1,000 fans. Arenado is one of the best players to wear a Drillers uniform, and is currently staring with the Colorado Rockies. He has won three Gold Glove Awards and a Silver Slugger Award. These Jerseys will be given out at the Arvest & Oil Derrick Gates. Sizes available will be youth medium, adult medium, adult XL and adult XXL.

There will be fireworks shows following the games on Friday and Saturday night.